The LaGrange chapter of the Boys and Girls Clubs of West Georgia is actively working to make reading a fun activity for the children who are part of the club’s new Rockstar Reading program.
Chief Professional Officer Bart McFadden is encouraged with the progress the program seems to be making with the students and their families.
“Rockstar Readers is our first targeted program that we have started that addresses and meets the needs of a particular group of our children,” said McFadden. “The Rockstar Reading program is a 10 week session that is designed to get children to change their attitudes about reading, we want them to not only have to read, but want to read.”
“Our children have truly grown and developed a love for reading through this reading program,” said Program Manager Stephanie Chambliss.
The program is divided into two age groups, 6-to-8 year olds, and 9-to-11 year olds. Both groups meet for 90 minutes, two times a week and share the same specific goals. The four goals of this reading program are: to instill a love of reading in children at an early age; to improve reading proficiency skills; to encourage family reading time and to have fun.
Markette Hambrick, a junior at Kennesaw State University who is majoring in early childhood education, is the leader for the Rockstar Reading groups. For each session she has the time equally divided to include reading, a relevant arts and crafts project and web-based reading instruction that is tailored to each of the children’s individual needs.
“It starts here. Before this class they haven’t had an opportunity to use reading in any other way then when they had to. The goal of the program is to help them comprehend more but also instill a love of reading,” Hambrick said.
During one of the program’s sessions on a particularly nice day, Hambrick was found outside surrounded by her five young charges as she shared a book with them. The children were attentive and seemed to enjoy both the lesson and the attention that Hambrick gave them. Hambrick read some of the story herself and then had the students take turns to also read.
As the afternoon cooled off, Hambrick and the children returned to the building. Little prompting was needed to get the children, who were all nine years old, to give their own evaluations of the reading program.
“I like being here because we read, we play and we do activities. She (Hambrick) is nice and she is kind,” said Samarria Weldon.
“I like it because I see my friends and cousins, do activities and get treats, and we get to use the computers,” said Quindarious Delaney.
Niyauna Bridges also agreed that she liked the program. “Because we get to read books and do activities,” she said.
All of the students voiced the fact that Hambrick was their instructor as being one of the main reasons why they enjoyed being part of the Rockstar Reading program.
McFadden hopes that it will be possible to expand this reading program so that more children will have the opportunity to reinforce and increase their love of reading.
The Rockstar Reading program is being sponsored by the General Dollar Literacy Foundation and the Target Corporation.
LaGrange’s Boys and Girls Club is open to Troup County children from 2:30 to 7 p.m. each weekday and currently has 137 registered members with a waiting list of another 35. The club’s overall goals are to help members achieve academic success, healthy lifestyles and to build good character and citizenship.
The LaGrange Boys and Girls Club of West Georgia is a United Way agency.
To learn more about how you can help support our local youth, please visit www.bngcwga.org or call 706-812-9698.